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Palestinian envoy to Poland accuses Israel of 'genocide' in Gaza

17.11.2023 15:00
The Palestinian ambassador to Poland has accused Israel of committing "genocide" in its war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian ambassador to Poland, Mahmoud Khalifa.
The Palestinian ambassador to Poland, Mahmoud Khalifa.Photo: Marcin Matuszewski/Radio Poland

Speaking at a press conference in Warsaw on Thursday, Mahmoud Khalifa called for "an immediate end to the ongoing genocide in the Gaza Strip," and appealed for steps to "hold the state of Israel responsible."

The Gaza Strip is a small piece of land on the Mediterranean Sea. It is only 10 kilometres wide and 40 kilometres long. With almost 2.5 million inhabitants, it is one of the most densely populated places on Earth.

The war between Israel and Hamas broke out when the Palestinian Islamist group launched attacks from the Gaza Strip on October 7, killing some 1,400 people and kidnapping more than 200 as hostages, according to the Israeli government.

Israel has since been bombing Gaza, as well mounting a ground assault on the territory, killing more than 11,000 people, including over 4,500 children, according to Gaza's Hamas-run health ministry.

Israel 'continuously and indiscriminately bombing' Gaza 

The Palestinian ambassador to Poland said on Thursday that Israel has been "continuously and indiscriminately bombing" Gaza "for over a month, with a total amount of explosives that already exceeds two nuclear bombs."

According to statistics cited by the diplomat, "within a month Israeli troops murdered 11,500 Palestinian civilians, including about 4,600 children and 3,100 women."

At the same time, Khalifa said, "nearly 29,000 civilians were already injured" in the attacks, "almost 70 percent of whom are women and children," while "3,500 people remain under the rubble resulting from intense bombing of a densely populated civilian area, including 1,400 children."

The ambassador added that "these numbers are most likely understated due to danger and difficulty with reporting from the area - and they are growing day by day."

Khalifa's emotional speech was accompanied by the presentation of diverse multimedia material showing civilian victims of Israeli strikes, including videos and photos of bombed hospitals and schools, as well as "civilians killed en masse," many of them women and children.

The Palestinian diplomat said that the Gaza Strip has been cut off from drinking water, food and electricity supplies since "the Israeli invasion" started.

'International community bears legal and moral responsibility'

"Neither the international organizations nor the most of the permanent UN Security Council members did anything to stop this genocide," Khalifa said.

He added: "The international community bears legal and moral responsibility for this situation. It is high time for them to take real action to stop the fire, to stop this genocide. Because for Israel, as you see, saying that it has the right to self-defence means giving a green light to invade and providing a licence to kill whomever they want."

The ambassador thanked Polish citizens and Poland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their support, including involvement in evacuation efforts.

'The world has lost its humanity'

"Israel has killed the sense of existence of international law, and the world has lost its humanity," Khalifa told reporters during his nearly two-hour press conference in the Polish capital.

'This is war and we will win this war': Israeli ambassador

The Israeli ambassador to Warsaw, Yacov Livne, said last month that Hamas' October 7 surprise attack from Gaza on his country was "an act of barbarism."

In an interview with public broadcaster Polish Radio, Livne said that Israel was determined to defend itself.

"This is war and we will win this war," Livne told Polish Radio at the time.

Israel's ambassador to Poland, Yacov Livne, attends the annual March of Remembrance in Warsaw on Friday. Israel's ambassador to Poland, Yacov Livne. Photo: PAP/Paweł Supernak


Click on the audio player above for a report by Radio Poland's Marcin Matuszewski.